Fr Ajoy Fernandes, Director of Don Bosco Research Centre-Mumbai, was the resource person for the workshop and facilitated the entire proceedings assisted by Fr Mayank Parmar, Director of DRISTI Don Bosco-Kapadvanj. The bi-lingual workshop in English and Gujarati focused on understanding the learning problems that children have and how the teachers could identify the specific problem of each particular child, enabling the child to learn better.
Through input and simulated interaction in groups, with pertinent feedback from the teachers, Fr Fernandes and Fr Parmar helped teachers to understand the environmental, emotional/behavioural and actual learning problems of school children. The teachers were taken through the process of recognising, identifying, accepting and assisting the child with difficulties to encourage, support and enable these children to cope with and improve their learning ability.
Interacting with the participants, Fr Fernandes, who is also a trained psychotherapist with a PhD from Manila, in Philippines, said, “It is important to understand and help children with learning difficulties. As teachers who wish the good of the children and as responsible parents, all of us need to acknowledge, be aware, recognise, accept and intervene constructively through a multi-pronged approach that involves IQ testing, comprehensive assessment including educational assessment, clinical assessment and occupational therapy.”
Fr Fernandes also provided the participants with guidelines for personal and group reflection with pertinent examples from his research work among 140 schools in Mumbai city and from the other 10 metropolitan cities across India. He also administered a pre- and post-workshop questionnaire, the findings of which will eventually be published and presented to the Government of India to help alleviate the learning disability of school children.
Kiran sir from Don Bosco Chhota, one of the participating teachers, said, “This is such a wonderful learning experience. Despite the sweltering heat, we were totally attuned to the presentation and the discussions because it affects us as teachers and because without understanding the children, we will not be able to make any headway in our teaching. Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia are all learning disorders which can be rectified and reversed if attended to at the right time in the right manner.”
Br Ramesh Durairaj, administrator, and Fr Shaun D’Lima, school animator, were the main organisers of this participatory training.
Source: Don Bosco India